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Mayor Durkan Announces New Bold Actions to Reduce Emissions from Transportation and Buildings

Mayor Durkan Introduces Two New Bills to Unlock More Green Energy Buildings

Seattle (April 4) –  Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan announced new bold actions in Seattle to reduce carbon pollution from our transportation and building sectors and make Seattle a national leader in fighting climate change.  As part of Seattle’s commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, this set of short-term and long-term actions provides a roadmap for our City to act in the absence of federal leadership, particularly on leading contributors of greenhouse gases: transportation and buildings.

“Seattle can lead the world by taking bold action to reduce our carbon footprint while protecting our communities from the worst impacts of climate change. We are already seeing these impacts – from wildfires that choke our air to extreme rain events flooding our streets – and they are being disproportionately felt most in communities that are already disadvantaged,” said Mayor Durkan. “Our actions to reduce emissions from transportation and buildings will help create a healthier and more just city, with a stronger economy.”

Two-thirds of Seattle’s climate emissions result from road transportation. While Seattle is leading to reduce single occupancy vehicle trips, this strategy identifies actions that will reduce the climate and air pollution from Seattle’s cars and trucks by using Seattle City Light’s carbon neutral electricity, including:

  • Improving mobility through congestion pricing in the upcoming years. At the conclusion of a new SDOT-led study, the City will develop a strategy over the next few years to address congestion and transportation emissions through pricing, coupled with investments in expanded transit and electrification in underserved communities.
  • Electric vehicle readiness ordinance for new construction. Mayor Durkan will transmit legislation requiring the inclusion of electric vehicle infrastructure in new construction or renovation that includes parking.
  • Green Fleet Action Plan update. Already a national leader in building a clean energy fleet, the city will update the Green Fleet Action Plan to phase out the use of fossil fuels in all fleet vehicles.
  • Ride share and taxi fleet electrification. The City will work with stakeholders to develop recommendations for electrifying all rideshare vehicles and taxis in Seattle.

“Transportation is the number one contributor of Seattle’s climate emissions,” said Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien (District 6). “If we are going to do our part to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, we must start with these bold measures that push the City towards investing in alternatives to unsustainable fossil fuels in our vehicles.”

After transportation, building energy is the second largest source of climate emissions, which is why Mayor Durkan has introduced two bills to unlock more energy efficient buildings:

  • Creating the City’s Most Sustainable Buildings. Announced by Mayor Durkan in her first State of the City, this pilot will offer additional height and floor space incentives for up to 20 major renovations in urban centers for significant upgrades in energy and water use, stormwater management, and better transportation efficiency based on the standards to create carbon neutral buildings.
  • Energy Efficiency as a Service (EEaS). Expand City Light’s successful, first in the nation, pay-for-performance energy efficiency pilot program to eliminate barriers that keep building owners from investing in deep energy efficiency upgrades.

“The City of Seattle is a great partner and innovator in helping the building sector achieve energy efficiency goals,” said Susan Wickwire, Executive Director of the Seattle 2030 District. “These building energy strategies multiple sectors—commercial, home, municipal—showing that all types of buildings can contribute to positive climate outcomes.”

With many buildings and homes still using fossil fuels as a primary energy source for heating and cooling, the new actions in that address building energy use include:

  • Oil to heat pump conversion. Develop a funding strategy to accelerate the transition of 18,000 homes from heating with oil to an electric heat pump, including financing the switch for low-income residents.
  • Extending and expanding municipal building energy efficiency program through 2025. Currently on track in meeting the 20 percent by 2020 goal, Mayor Durkan will nearly double the funding through 2025, aiming to cut energy use and carbon emissions nearly 40 percent in our buildings.

“Creating new opportunities for energy conservation in our homes and supporting efforts of City Light to ‘green’ more buildings in Seattle, we can pair good living wage jobs with critical environmental protection and provide stewardship of our natural spaces for generations to come,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda, Pos. 8 (Citywide).

Finally, as part of the City’s ongoing commitment to leading by example, the strategy calls for City departments to assess the GHG emissions and cost impact of City plans, policies, and major investments.  The Office of Sustainability & Environment will be responsible for tracking the progress of these climate initiatives and reporting back to City Council.